Sometimes, the only thing that you’re missing for a big event is a humongous, temperature-controlled container. How are you going to hand out fresh coffee, soup, or beer to a group without a large thermos or insulated growler?
Large thermoses and insulated growlers are great for big events, like sports games or outdoor activities. They’re also useful for a long work day, or for bringing fresh coffee to an office party. Yes, you can find hot and cold drinks or food at just about any gas station, but you can save a lot of money bringing drinks or food from home in an insulated bottle. Since the most affordable large tumblers and insulated growlers tend to be less than $50, it’s easy to see how they can pay for themselves.
But which bottle should you choose from? Well, it’s easier to find a one-trick-pony than it is to find a large thermos that can perform many jobs. For example, if you want a big container of hot coffee to last through your work day, then you might want a thermos that has a spout, or a lid that doubles as a cup. If you need to bring some cold, fresh beer on the boat, then you’ll need a growler that can handle the pressure of a carbonated beverage. But if you’re looking for something that you can use for soup, iced coffee, and beer, then you’ll have to take the time to consider your options. Thankfully, we’ve found the best thermoses and insulated growlers for a variety of needs, so you should be able to find the bottle that’s right for you.
Thermos Stainless King 1.9L Bottle ($33)
If you’re going to get a thermos, then why not grab one of the originals? The Thermos brand 1.9L tumbler is a durable piece of equipment that can keep your drinks hot or cool for up to 24 hours. This is a particularly good tumbler for hot drinks and hot soup, but it’s not always great if you want to bring iced drinks to work every day.
Since this thermos can carry a ton of coffee or soup, it’s important that you can cool down small portions without compromising the temperature of the entire tumbler. That’s why this Thermos’ entire design is built around the action of pouring. The Thermos’ cap doubles as a cup, so poured liquid can cool down relatively quickly and independently. You don’t have to worry about your Thermos losing it’s temperature when you’re drinking from the cap-cup, because the bottle has a stopper that creates a vacuum seal. Oh, and that stopper can be used as a spout when it’s partially unscrewed, which is a lot easier to pour from than the Thermos’ wide mouth.
Again, the Thermos brand thermos is best with hot drinks. If you’re trying to bring some cold liquid to work, like an iced tea or infused water, then you’re going to find yourself feeling inconvenienced. The mouth of the bottle is too wide to drink from directly, and keeping iced drinks in the small cap is a little awkward. Of course, you won’t run into any problems if you already planned on parceling your cold drink into smaller cups throughout the day.
Stanley Classic 1.9L Vacuum Insulated Thermos ($33.63)
From design to function, the Stanley thermos is a classic. It will always hold a place in the hearts of coffee drinkers and outdoorsy-types, because it’s durable, affordable, and really good at insulating liquid. Like the Thermos brand tumbler, the Stanley has a cap that doubles as a cup, so you don’t have to bring along any extra containers. This tumbler has a stopper that works like a spout when it’s partially unscrewed.
If you’re not a fan of the cap-cup, then you can drink directly out of the thermos. It has a relatively small mouth, so you won’t end up spilling your drink everywhere. Just keep in mind that the purpose of the cap-cup is to let a drinkable portion of your drink cool without cooling down the entire thermos. It’s a good idea when you’re carrying a massive 1.9L thermos. If you drank your hot coffee directly from the Stanley, then you’d probably burn your mouth.
This large, 1.9L Stanley thermos is great for taking hot or cold drinks on a camping trip, or even to work. It’s an affordable, time-tested classic that can take years of use and abuse.
Stanley Classic 1.9L Vacuum Insulated Growler ($31.50)
The Stanley thermos is a classic, but the stopper can be kind of annoying, and it won’t always keep your carbonated drinks from going flat (it may even leak if there’s too much air pressure). If you want a Stanley styled thermos for your beer or other carbonated drinks, then you should think about grabbing a Stanley growler. It has a latch-styled lid, which can deal with air pressure a lot better than a screw-on lid. Not to mention, this growler costs a couple dollars less than the regular Stanley thermos. Since the Stanley growler can hold the same amount of liquid as the Stanley thermos, that couple of dollars might be worth thinking about.
Of course, you’ll probably want to bring some cups with the Stanley growler, because it doesn’t have a lid that doubles as a cup. You could drink directly from the growler, but it has a wide lid, so there’s a chance that you’d spill your precious beer all over the place. And if you happen to be using this growler for hot coffee (good idea) you’ll want to find a cup to pour the coffee in first. If you drank directly from the growler, then you’d probably burn your mouth (bad idea). Really, these are minor inconveniences, and they probably won’t matter to you unless you’re taking hot drinks on the go.
DrinkTanks Vacuum Insulated 1.8L Growler ($51.80)
The DrinkTanks is a premium, durable growler that can keep your beer (or any other drink) carbonated and temperature-controller. While the Stanley growler has one small latch on the lid, the DrinkTank has a large metal latch that fully encompasses the top of the bottle. If the Stanley works well with one small latch, then you know that the DrinkTank’s giant latch will guarantee fresh, cool beer.
Honestly, one of the best things about the DrinkTanks growler is that you can pair it with a keg-cap accessory kit. This transforms your growler into a miniature keg, which makes sharing easy while keeping beer extra cool and carbonated. Even if you’re just using a grower to keep micro-brews fresh in your fridge, the ability to use your growler as a keg is a complete game changer.
Of course, at $51 dollars, this may not be the insulated growler for everybody. You can use this growler for more than just beer, but there’s not really a point in spending a ton of money if you simply need an insulated container for your coffee or hot water.
VonShef Thermal 5 Liter Carafe ($49.95)
This isn’t a thermos or a growler, but it can do the same job at a very low price… and it can hold 5 liters of liquid. The VonShef thermal carafe is a massive, stainless container that can keep drinks hot or cold for 24 hours. It’s a great tool for parties, meetings, or large camping trips. And the VonShef made of just 3 parts, so it’s very easy to clean.
It’s hard to look at a thermal carafe without thinking of coffee. But you can realistically use the VonShef for just about anything. Iced teas, lemonade, hot chocolate, or a liquor-heavy punch would work well in one of these carafes. You could also use the VonShef to hold boiling water, which can be used for instant noodles or teas. Again, this carafe holds 5 liters, which is enough to serve dozens of people. Of course, you don’t want to put anything carbonated in this carafe, and it may be a bit too big for a 2-person camping trip (unless you drink a few liters of coffee a day).
Stanley Adventure Vacuum Crock 2.8L ($41.89)
Thermoses have always reminded me of soup, but insulated containers have made a slow crawl away from the world of food. Manufacturers have had a lot of success with thermoses that are designed for coffee, so it makes sense that they’re putting all of their efforts into vacuum sealed sippy-cup styled lids for adults. But the idea that you can keep food hot without any electricity is still vaguely revolutionary, which is why it’s good to see a product like the Stanley insulated crock.
This is a simple device that’s easy to use and clean. It’s made of two big parts (the lid and the crock), and it only has one gasket, which is big enough to keep track of when you clean it. Since this 2.8L crock has a wide mouth, it’s easy to put in as much food as you think you’ll need. And that’s really all that you have to do — you don’t have to heat up the crock before use. Since it creates a vacuum seal, you don’t have to worry about your food getting weird or mushy.
People with a keen eye may notice that the Stanley crock has some serious clamps. Well, that’s because it needs to be able to endure a lot of pressure when it’s full of steaming hot beans or BBQ. It even has a pressure relief valve, in case you’re going on a mountainous climb. That being said, you can also use this crock to keep things cold, like ice cream, coleslaw, or ice.